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Why the stories we tell are important for health



Why the stories we tell are important for health

“Our lives are ceaselessly intertwined with narrative, with the stories we tell and hear told, those we dream or imagine or would like to tell, all of which are reworked in the story of our own lives that we narrate to ourselves” (White & Epston, 1990).

Throughout time, people have told stories. Perhaps from the beginning of language—the original “once upon a time”—storytelling has been a way of passing down knowledge and information. Stories tell us who we are, how the world works, and what values we should live by. They tell us what is possible, what is not, and what, if anything, may lay beyond the ordinary world of our senses.

Telling and listening to stories is wired into our psyches and nervous systems. Although stories have, at times, been used to exclude and harm, when used in a therapeutic context they have the power to heal and transform. A good story can foster connection and insight, convey healing or empowering metaphors, and activate a client’s resilience, imagination, and creativity. When a story strikes the right chord, it can shift a client’s perspective and open new ways of thinking and seeing.

It’s no wonder that the ancient art of storytelling has been incorporated into everything from violence prevention and trauma reduction programs to medical care and psychotherapy (Zerla, 2017; Hammel, 2018). Dan Yashinsky, a professional storyteller, has used his craft in medical settings and found that “for people with dementia, storytelling sparks rich and imaginative responses, even from those who have forgotten the names of their loved ones. For psychiatry patients, being treated for severe depression, wonder tales full of breathtaking suspense can help them regain their desire to discover what happens next—in the story, and in their own lives. In the palliative unit, we listen to life stories, share tales of wisdom from around the world, and we laugh, too, despite the solemn setting” (Yashinsky, 2017).

When social workers think about storytelling in the context of counseling, many think about the stories clients bring—conscious and unconscious—about their history, relationships, and struggles. Or they may think about how, during the course of therapeutic exploration and processing, new narratives that better support a client’s hopes and psychological growth are created.

But in some cases, counseling professionals are the ones doing the storytelling. Whether sharing tales of the Trojan War with combat veterans (Shay, 2003), reading children’s stories intended to foster psychological growth in terminally ill patients (Grey, 1998), or using fairy tales to enhance a sense of meaning and purpose (Bettelheim, 2010), or telling “healing stories” aimed at altering self-limiting beliefs and reactive patterns (Burns, 2001), social workers can use this timeworn craft to strengthen the therapeutic bond and catalyze change.


The potential benefits of incorporating storytelling into the therapeutic encounter are numerous and include the following:

• Stories often contain profound wisdom as well as metaphorical and archetypal truths that can be conveyed in familiar images and simple language.

• Stories help us see and assimilate things about our life and circumstances from a comfortable distance, at a safe pace, in a context of safety and support.

• A story can create warmth and connection between the one telling the story and the one listening, enhancing the therapeutic alliance.

• For those feeling stuck or with little energy as they struggle with depression, illness, or overwhelming stress, hearing a story can be a pleasant respite during which they can simply relax and listen.

• Stories can engage our sense of humor, uncover strengths and novel solutions, and normalize experiences in ways that reduce feelings of shame or isolation. They can enhance our perspective, loosen the weight of troubling thoughts and emotions, evoke positive memories, and inspire hope.

• Stories can be multidimensional and multisensory, honing in on not just what a character did but also what they thought and felt, what was happening inside their bodies, and what they intended by their behavior vs. how those behaviors were interpreted by others.

• Many stories contain a therapeutically useful archetype that Joseph Campbell (1988) called the “hero’s journey” in which a person is compelled or pushed, often by some kind of crisis, onto a difficult journey during which trials and doubts are faced, and perspective and wisdom acquired.

• Reflecting on the ways Milton Erickson, MD, used stories in psychotherapy, Rosen (1991) points out that counseling professionals can choose stories that contain specific “therapeutic suggestions” that engage a client’s unconscious mind to create new expectations and visions of what is possible.

Incorporating Into Practice

For social workers interested in adding this dimension to their practice, stories can be drawn from virtually anywhere. Legends, myths, sacred texts, and world literary


Rose was extremely independent. For months, she struggled with the progression of respiratory illnesses, refusing anyone to help her. When she became unsteady on her feet, she finally allowed her daughter to move in and help with the care.

To her surprise, Rose found that giving up household chores and responsibilities associated with her illness freed up more time and energy for her family and friends. She began to appreciate little things that previously went unnoticed, like the sound of birds emitted in the early morning and the way the love she felt for her newborn grandson gave her a tingling feeling in her stomach.

On one visit, she reflected on the paradox of how her body had become weak and unreliable, but her spirit, her inner self, was growing stronger and more sensitive to what was important.

She searched in vain for words to describe this paradox. On her wall was a picture of the great civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. I thought of an anecdote from the bus boycott in Montgomery, AL in the 1950s, in which African-American citizens protested the racial segregation of public transportation. refused to take the city bus. I was wondering if a story would help Rose.

I told her about an older woman tired from months of walking instead of taking the bus. Fatigue crept into his hunched body and idling. At a community meeting after a long day, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to her. Recognizing her commitment to the cause, he told her that there would be no disapproval if she returned to taking the buses. When she told him she would keep walking, he asked if she was tired. She replied, “My feet are tired, but my soul is rested.”

Rose smiled, repeating the phrase as if she had a holy power. We talked about how tired the woman was and how hard it must have been. But under exhaustion, she lurked a core of strength and peace. The story highlighted some of the truths emerging from Rose’s experience: her life had innate value regardless of her ability to maintain her roles and physical function, and inner strength was more substantial than physical strength.

In the weeks that followed, as Rose was confined to bed and struggling to cope with the loss of privacy and independence, she would frequently repeat the phrase during my visits: “My feet are tired, but my soul is rested.” She became an access point to connect with her deeper self and reinforce the fact that even though her body was getting weaker, her inner self was getting wiser, stronger.

Experience storytelling

In a sense, counseling and psychotherapy can be seen as a sophisticated type of storytelling in which clients’ stories are evoked, shared, heard, explored, and transformed. While social workers approach clients and patients using a variety of explanation and intervention models, we all carry stories and some of them can be helpful depending on the client.

While there is much to be said for how to choose, craft, time, and deliver a story in the context of consulting, for those interested in experiencing storytelling, Lankton, and Lankton (1989) suggest using stories and anecdotes with therapeutic metaphors that derive from of the social worker’s experience, knowledge, and interests: “Stories that derive from the therapist’s authentic experiences and understandings are believable and, when relevant to the client’s desired learning, are also fascinating, interesting, and engaging.”

Recognizing the need to protect confidentiality and professional boundaries, they suggest considering a client’s goals and clinical presentation and asking, “How is this going in my experience?” The people and images that come to mind in response to this question become the raw material from which a therapeutic metaphor can be constructed.

– Scott Janssen, MSW, LCSW, is a hospice social worker in Durham, North Carolina, and a member of the Trauma Informed Care Task Force of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Some of the material in this article was adapted from his book Standing at Lemhi Pass: Archetypal Stories for the End of Life and Other Challenging Times.

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The Complete Guide to Delta 9 THC



The Complete Guide to Delta 9 THC

Delta 9 THC, often simply referred to as delta 9, is a hot topic in the world of cannabinoids. This compound, found in the cannabis plant, has gained significant attention for its potential therapeutic benefits and its psychoactive effects. In this article, we will delve deep into the world of delta 9 THC, exploring its properties, uses, legal status, and much more.

What is Delta 9 THC?

Delta 9 THC, short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of the many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It is known for its psychoactive effects, making it the compound responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis consumption.

The Effects of Delta 9 THC

When delta 9 THC interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the human body, it produces a range of effects. These effects can vary from person to person, but some common experiences include:

  • Euphoria and relaxation
  • Altered perception of time and space
  • Increased appetite (often referred to as “the munchies”)
  • Enhanced sensory perception
  • Impaired coordination and motor skills

Delta 9 THC vs. CBD

It’s important to distinguish between delta 9 THC and another well-known cannabinoid, CBD (cannabidiol). While delta 9 THC is psychoactive, CBD is not. CBD is often used for its potential therapeutic benefits without the intoxicating effects of delta 9 THC.

The Legality of Delta 9 THC

The legal status of delta 9 THC varies from one place to another. In some countries and states, it is fully legal for both medical and recreational use. In others, it remains strictly prohibited. It’s crucial to be aware of the laws regarding delta 9 THC in your region before considering its use.

Delta 9 THC in Medicine

Delta 9 THC has shown promise in the field of medicine. Some potential medical applications include:

  • Pain management
  • Nausea and vomiting relief, particularly in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
  • Appetite stimulation in individuals with eating disorders or undergoing treatments that cause appetite loss

Is Delta 9 THC Addictive?

There is a debate about whether delta 9 THC is addictive. While some individuals may develop a psychological dependence on it, the physical addiction potential is considered lower than that of substances like nicotine or opioids.

FAQs about Delta 9 THC

What is the difference between delta 9 THC and delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC is a cannabinoid closely related to delta 9 THC but with slightly different effects. Delta 8 is less psychoactive, making it a popular choice for those seeking a milder experience.

Can delta 9 THC be used to treat anxiety?

While some individuals report anxiety relief with delta 9 THC, it can also exacerbate anxiety in others. It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before using it for anxiety.

Is it possible to overdose on delta 9 THC?

It is rare to overdose on delta 9 THC, but excessive consumption can lead to discomfort, anxiety, and paranoia. It’s essential to use it responsibly.

How long does delta 9 THC stay in the system?

The duration of delta 9 THC in the body depends on various factors, including frequency of use and metabolism. It can be detected in urine for up to 30 days in heavy users.

Can delta 9 THC help with sleep?

Delta 9 THC can have sedative effects, which may aid in sleep for some individuals. However, it can also disrupt sleep patterns for others.

Is delta 9 THC safe for pets?

Delta 9 THC can be toxic to pets, especially in high doses. It’s crucial to keep all cannabis products out of reach of animals.


Delta 9 THC is a complex cannabinoid with a wide range of effects and potential applications. Whether you are interested in its recreational use or exploring its medicinal benefits, it’s essential to approach it with knowledge and responsibility. Stay informed about the laws in your area and consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss



The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss

Achieving weight loss goals isn’t always easy, but with the right strategies and supplements, you can enhance your progress. Protein powder, made from various sources like whey, casein, and plant-based proteins, can be a game-changer in your weight loss journey. To make the best choice, let’s explore this topic in detail.

Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss

When it comes to selecting the best protein powder for weight loss, it’s crucial to consider your unique needs and preferences. Different types of protein powders offer distinct benefits, so understanding your options is key to making an informed decision.

Whey Protein: A Classic Choice

Whey Protein: This protein powder type is derived from milk and is known for its rapid absorption rate. It’s an excellent choice for post-workout recovery and muscle building. While it may not directly burn fat, its muscle-preserving properties make it a valuable addition to your weight loss regimen.

Casein Protein: Sustained Release

Casein Protein: Unlike whey, casein protein is slow-digesting, providing a steady release of amino acids over time. This can help control hunger and cravings, making it easier to stick to your calorie deficit.

Plant-Based Protein: A Vegan Alternative

Plant-Based Protein: Ideal for vegans and vegetarians, plant-based protein powders come from sources like pea, rice, or hemp. They’re often rich in fiber, which can aid in appetite control and weight management.

Egg White Protein: A Nutrient Powerhouse

Egg White Protein: This protein powder is made from pure egg whites and is low in fat and carbohydrates. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to increase protein intake without adding extra calories.

Collagen Protein: Skin and Gut Health

Collagen Protein: While not a complete protein source, collagen protein can support overall health. It’s often used for its benefits to skin, hair, and gut health, making it a holistic addition to your weight loss plan.

Factors to Consider

Choosing the best protein powder for weight loss involves evaluating several factors to ensure it aligns with your goals and preferences.

1. Protein Content

Ensure the protein powder provides an adequate protein content per serving. Aim for at least 20-25 grams per scoop to support your weight loss and muscle-building efforts.

2. Ingredients

Check the ingredient list for additives, preservatives, or excessive sugar. Opt for protein powders with minimal ingredients and no artificial flavors.

3. Flavor and Taste

Select a flavor that you enjoy, as this will make it easier to incorporate the powder into your daily routine. Common flavors include chocolate, vanilla, and fruit.

4. Dietary Restrictions

Consider any dietary restrictions you may have, such as lactose intolerance or vegan preferences. Choose a protein powder that aligns with your dietary needs.

5. Budget

Protein powders come in various price ranges. While it’s tempting to opt for the cheapest option, prioritize quality and ingredients over price.

6. Brand Reputation

Research and choose reputable brands known for quality and safety. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations can help in this regard.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the recommended daily protein intake for weight loss?

For weight loss, it’s generally recommended to consume 1.2 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Adjust your protein powder serving size accordingly.

Can protein powder replace meals for weight loss?

While protein powder can be a convenient meal replacement, it’s essential to maintain a balanced diet. Use protein powder as a supplement rather than a complete meal replacement.

Are there any side effects of consuming protein powder for weight loss?

Excessive protein intake can lead to digestive issues or kidney strain. Ensure you follow recommended serving sizes and consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns.

How should I incorporate protein powder into my weight loss plan?

Protein powder can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, or even used in baking recipes. Experiment to find the most enjoyable way to include it in your diet.

Can I use protein powder for weight loss if I’m lactose intolerant?

Yes, there are lactose-free protein powder options available, such as those made from plant-based sources or lactose-free whey.

Is it safe to use protein powder while breastfeeding?

Consult with a healthcare provider before using protein powder while breastfeeding to ensure it’s safe for both you and your baby.


Selecting the best  for weight loss is a significant step towards achieving your fitness goals. Consider your unique needs, preferences, and dietary restrictions when making a choice. With the right protein powder as your ally, you can enhance your weight loss journey and enjoy a healthier, more energetic life.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so take your time, do your research, and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns. Here’s to a successful weight loss journey!


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Unlocking the Benefits of Yoga Exercise: A Path to Wellness and Vitality



Unlocking the Benefits of Yoga Exercise: A Path to Wellness and Vitality

In our fast-paced, modern world, where stress and sedentary lifestyles have become the norm, finding ways to reconnect with our inner selves and prioritize our well-being is essential. One such practice that has gained immense popularity for its holistic approach to health is yoga exercise. This ancient discipline not only helps improve physical fitness but also promotes mental tranquility. In this article, we’ll delve deep into the world of yoga exercise, exploring its diverse forms and uncovering the myriad benefits it offers.

Yoga Exercise: A Holistic Approach to Wellness

Yoga exercise, often simply referred to as “yoga,” is a centuries-old practice that originated in ancient India. It is much more than just a physical workout; it’s a way of life that integrates the mind, body, and spirit. Here, we’ll discuss the essence of yoga exercise and how it can transform your life.

Understanding Yoga Exercise

At its core, yoga exercise is a series of postures, breathing techniques, and meditation practices designed to promote physical strength, flexibility, and mental clarity. It’s about aligning your body and mind, achieving a state of balance and harmony. Let’s dive into the heart of yoga exercise.

The Many Faces of Yoga

Yoga exercise is incredibly diverse, offering a wide array of styles and practices to suit various needs and preferences. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or a challenging physical workout, there’s a yoga style for you.

Hatha Yoga: The Foundation

Hatha yoga is an excellent starting point for beginners. It focuses on basic postures and breathing exercises, making it accessible to all age groups and fitness levels. It’s a gentle introduction to the world of yoga exercise.

Vinyasa Yoga: Flowing Gracefully

Vinyasa yoga, often called “flow yoga,” emphasizes the synchronization of breath with movement. It’s a dynamic practice that builds strength, flexibility, and stamina while encouraging mindfulness.

Bikram Yoga: The Heat is On

Bikram yoga, practiced in a heated room, is an intense form of yoga exercise. The high temperature aids in detoxification and enhances flexibility, making it a favorite among those seeking a vigorous workout.

Kundalini Yoga: Awakening the Energy Within

Kundalini yoga focuses on awakening the dormant energy at the base of the spine. It combines postures, breathing exercises, and mantra chanting to promote spiritual growth and self-awareness.

Ashtanga Yoga: The Eight-Limbed Path

Ashtanga yoga is a rigorous practice that follows a specific sequence of postures and is known for its physical demands. It’s perfect for those looking to push their physical boundaries.

Restorative Yoga: Relax and Rejuvenate

Restorative yoga is a gentle practice that involves long-held, supported poses. It’s ideal for reducing stress, improving sleep, and promoting deep relaxation.

The Physical Benefits of Yoga Exercise

Yoga exercise offers a plethora of physical advantages. It’s not just about becoming more flexible; it’s about nurturing your body. Let’s explore the remarkable benefits it can bring to your physical well-being.

Enhanced Flexibility

Regular yoga practice gradually increases your flexibility, allowing you to move more freely and with greater ease in your daily life.

Improved Strength

Yoga postures engage various muscle groups, helping you build and tone your muscles effectively.

Better Posture

Yoga encourages proper alignment and posture, reducing the risk of chronic pain and injuries.

Increased Balance and Stability

Yoga exercises often involve balancing poses, which enhance your stability and coordination.

Pain Management

Many individuals find relief from chronic pain conditions, such as back pain, through yoga exercise.

Cardiovascular Health

Certain yoga styles, like Vinyasa, provide a cardiovascular workout, improving heart health.

Mental and Emotional Well-Being

While yoga’s physical benefits are impressive, its impact on mental and emotional well-being is equally profound. Here’s how yoga exercise can positively affect your mind and emotions.

Yoga and Mental Clarity

Yoga is renowned for its ability to quiet the mind, reduce stress, and enhance mental clarity. Regular practice can help you develop a deep sense of calm and focus.

Stress Reduction

Yoga encourages relaxation and mindfulness, which can significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels.

Emotional Balance

By promoting self-awareness and introspection, yoga helps you manage your emotions more effectively.

Enhanced Sleep Quality

Many practitioners report improved sleep patterns and insomnia relief after embracing yoga exercise.


Q: Can anyone practice yoga exercise, regardless of age or fitness level?

A: Absolutely! Yoga is inclusive and adaptable, making it suitable for people of all ages and fitness backgrounds.

Q: How often should I practice yoga to experience its benefits?

A: Ideally, practicing yoga a few times a week can yield noticeable physical and mental improvements. However, even occasional sessions can provide benefits.

Q: Is yoga exercise a good way to lose weight?

A: While yoga primarily focuses on overall well-being, some forms of yoga, like power yoga, can aid in weight loss when combined with a balanced diet.

Q: Are there any precautions I should take before starting yoga, especially if I have a medical condition?

A: It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new exercise regimen, including yoga, especially if you have underlying medical conditions.

Q: Can yoga help with managing chronic pain conditions?

A: Many individuals with chronic pain conditions find relief through yoga. However, it’s essential to practice under the guidance of a qualified instructor to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Q: What equipment do I need to start practicing yoga at home?

A: You don’t need much equipment to start yoga at home. A yoga mat, comfortable clothing, and perhaps some props like blocks and straps are sufficient for most practices.


In a world where stress and distractions abound, yoga exercise offers a sanctuary of peace and well-being. Its physical and mental benefits are profound, making it a valuable practice for people from all walks of life. By integrating yoga into your routine, you can experience enhanced flexibility, strength, mental clarity, and emotional balance. So, why wait? Roll out your mat, take a deep breath, and embark on a transformative journey toward a healthier, happier you through yoga exercise.


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